Women entrepreneurs to watch this year in Africa

 Founder and Chief Executive of Professional Marketing Services Group Joanne Mwangi with her team [Courtesy]

In recent years, more female entrepreneurs have continued to make their mark in the world of business.

In fact, studies show that women in Africa are more likely than men to be entrepreneurs. Women make up 27 per cent of the continent’s self-employed population, according the United Nations. Uganda and Botswana have the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs.

This development is changing how women are viewed and how the roles can change. The women’s role in Africa was seen as guardians of their children and household managers.

Over the last decade, women have shown that they are more than capable of holding their own when it comes to starting and owning businesses.

These women have defied odds and made a name for themselves in their perspective sectors and are the ones to watch.

Njeri Rionge, Kenya

Serial entrepreneur Njeri Rionge has co-founded multi-million dollar companies in quick succession and has become one of Kenya’s rising stars in business. She co-founded Wananchi Online, a leading Internet service provider which has gone on to become East Africa’s leading cable, broadband and IP (Internet-based) phone company which has raised close to $60 million (Sh6.9 billion). She also founded Ignite Consulting, a thriving business consultancy.

Joanne Mwangi, Kenya

The founder and chief executive of Professional Marketing Services Group. The company was voted the No. 1 enterprise in the Kenya Top 100 Medium-sized awards the best in the service sector and as the top entrepreneur in 2010. The entrepreneur started off by selling vegetables at her mother’s kiosk to growing the business to four subsidiaries which offer a wide range of agency services including advertising, public relations, event management, trade promotions, consumer promotions, trade merchandising and marketing strategy development.

Divine Ndhlukuka, Zimbabwe

Divine is the founder of security company Securico which started with just four employees but now boasts over 3,500 employees with plans to expand to Mozambique and Zambia. She has also been praised as an influential female leader empowering a billion women.

Folorunsho Alakija – Nigeria

Folorunsho Alakija is a billionaire oil magnate who is also involved in fashion, real estate and printing industries. Before starting her oil company, Famfa was involved in banking, started a fashion line which became a household name. Alakija is listed as the 96th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.

Massogbè Touré, Ivory Coast

Massogbè Touré is the founder and chief executive of the SITA Group, a cashew nut processing company. SITA is today one of the world leaders for the processing of cashew nuts. She is also Chairperson of the Commission for the Development of Women. She says “Women here and elsewhere are the locomotives, catalysts and driving forces of economic and social development in our nations.

Mosunmola Abudu – Nigeria

The media mogul founded the first global Pan-African television network EbonyLife TV in 2013 and has accumulated a net worth of $11 million (Sh1.26 billion). She was an executive producer of the TV series Desperate Housewives Africa and her talk show Moments with Mo. She was called “Africa’s Most Successful Woman” by Forbes.

Salwa Akhannouch, Morocco

Salwa Idrissi, is a Moroccan businesswoman and entrepreneur. She is the founder and current president of Aksal Holding which specialises in retail, beauty, cosmetics and shopping malls. The 37 year old businesswoman owns a 50 per cent stake in the Morocco Mall, one of Africa’s largest shopping centres The conglomerate also owns the sole franchise for several leading brands in Morocco, including Fendi, Gucci, Ralph Lauren and Zara. She is the wife of Aziz Akhannouch, a wealthy Moroccan businessman and politician.

Sibongile Sambo, South Africa

The aviation industry leader began her journey when she applied to be a flight attendant but was turned down due to height requirements. She then started SRS aviation which is the African distributor of new and overhauled aircraft spare parts for the commercial, commuter, corporate, Military and Cargo aerospace Industries. Piloted by Sibongile Sambo, SRS Aviation offers clients professional and personalised flight options to destinations around the world, Our Air charter services varies from VIP Charter, Tourist Charter, Cargo Charter; Game Count & Capture and Helicopter Services. The 47-year-old has managed to accumulate a net worth of $5 million (Sh575 million).

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